This Week in CFD

gridpro-stingTwo-letter acronyms represent a good deal of the reading in this week’s CFD news: specifically, artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual reality (VR). For the programmers out there we link to an article about why Fortran is still useful (for physicists at least). Plus there’s the usual assortment of software releases and CFD applications. And there’s a lot of mesh images too including this one here from our friends at GridPro.



Thanks to alert reader Nick for pointing me at this faceted Texas graphic from Texas Monthly. 

AI and VR – The Future?

  • This Forbes article buries the lede, at least as it relates to CFD. Starting from about 100 traditional CFD runs, GE used a neural network on a surrogate model to compute a million design variations in 15 minutes and achieved a 7% improvement in the key performance metric. This result is a speed-up of 5 billion.
  • How likely is it that we will “see VR as an undeniable part of any CFD cycle in near future.”? That’s the premise raised by the article “Virtual Reality: The 3-D Solution to an Engineer’s 2-D Problem.” [Allow me to play devil’s advocate. For VR to be truly useful as a means of extracting engineering insight from CFD data, we need to move past looking at rainbow color contour maps. A visualization says “Here’s the entire flowfield; see if you can find what’s important.” Now repeat that for 1,000 solutions.]

Immersive, VR-based visualization of CFD results. Image from See link above.


  • Numeca release OMNIS 3.1 including a Lattice-Boltzmann solver.
  • I was OK with the article Why Physicists Still Use Fortran until I got to “Fortran is easier for students to learn than C++.” C’mon, they’re doing physics – relativity, quantum mechanics, Higgs bosons – and in the same justification it’s said that these students also understand how computers work [I don’t] and you want me to believe they can’t handle classes and pointer offsets?
  • Beta CAE launched v19.1.1 of their software suite.


  • You have until 01 May to apply for this summer’s NUMAP-FOAM School for expert instruction in the use of OpenFOAM. Classes will be held 19-30 August at the University of Zagreb.
  • Turbulence for the layperson.
  • As 3-D printers move toward using geometry models from CAD software directly, does this mean the STL format is dead?
  • DEVELOP3D’s Al Dean knifes into the “infinite computing” aspect of the cloud by pointing out the practical fact that even cloud resources are limited and perhaps worse yet; there’s little you can do to change that.
  • Speaking of the cloud, here are a couple of predictions for what’s coming in 2019.
  • Here’s Visualizing Data’s best of the visualization web for January 2019.

Not CFD: you can help make the world’s largest 3D printed duck. Image from 

CFD for…

Immersed in Grid

I’ve shared the work of Peter Kogler here before but went I ran across his updated website this week I figured this would be a perfect complement to the article above about VR and immersive environments. This is what I call an immersive environment, deep inside a structured grid.

From an essay on his website [translated by Google from German so that’s my excuse if this is inaccurate or inarticulate], the artist explores the tension between nature, mind, and technology by creating immersive, relational spaces in which audience participation is essential.


Peter Kogler, Artists&Robots, Grand Palais, Paris, 2018.  Image from See link above.

Bonus: Lots of folks are into personal productivity. And lots of folks are into learning about how successful people achieve productivity. If you fit into both those categories and have a lot of time to read, check out Stephen Wolfram’s essay, Seeking the Productive Life: Some Details of My Personal Infrastructure. You’ll read about how his desk is organized, how his computer screens are arranged, and what he carries with him to remain connected and productive. [Given the length of this essay, the fact that these are only “some details” of his productivity is kinda scary.]

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2 Responses to This Week in CFD

  1. The comment section in the “Why Physicists Still Use Fortran” article is vicious.

    • John Chawner says:

      I stopped underestimating students a long time ago. I think they could be as productive with C++ as with Fortran as with… My tone wasn’t intended to be vicious, just snarky.

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